Over the past three decades, there has been a dramatic development in the Indian investment sector. Investors are willingly shifting away from traditional options like bank fixed deposits, stocks, and mutual funds to more well-established and diverse investing options like exchange-traded funds.
ETFs offer a convenient way for individuals to invest in a diversified portfolio of securities, similar to mutual funds, but with added flexibility and potential tax advantages. In this blog post, we will go into the world of ETFs, looking at their benefits, various varieties, and essential factors for investors wishing to take advantage of their potential.
Understanding Exchange-traded Funds
An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a grouping of securities like bonds or stocks. You can invest in many assets using ETFs at once, and they frequently have lower costs than other funds. ETFs are additionally simpler to trade.
However, ETFs are not a one-size-fits-all solution like any other financial product. Look at them for their worth, considering management fees, commission costs, simplicity of buy and sale, compatibility with your current portfolio, and investment quality.
How do Exchange-traded funds Work?
Fund providers own the underlying assets, create funds to track their performance, and sell shares in those funds to investors.
It is important to note that shareholders own a portion of the ETF but do not own the fund’s underlying assets. Investors in an ETF that tracks a stock index (A statistical instrument that captures movements in the financial markets) can still receive a lump sum dividend (or reinvestment) in the stocks that comprise the index.
ETFs are designed to track the value of an underlying asset or index, whether it’s a commodity such as gold or a basket of stocks. They trade at market-determined prices, which are usually different from the asset.
Unlike regular mutual funds, ETFs trade like common stocks on an exchange. ETF trading prices, like other stocks, change throughout the day as they are traded on the stock exchange.
The trading value of the ETF is based on the net asset value of the underlying shares represented by the ETF. ETFs typically have higher daily liquidity and lower fees than mutual funds, making them an attractive option for retail investors.
Types of Exchange-Traded Funds
There are various exchange-traded funds, each with different underlying components.
- Commodity ETFs:- Commodity ETFs offer exposure to precious metals such as gold and silver, agricultural commodities, and natural resources such as oil and gas. It’s important to note that you don’t own the physical assets with commodity ETFs. You are the owner of a series of contracts backed by commodities.
- Sector ETFs:– These ETFs track specific industries such as technology, energy, and finance. Investors, analysts, and economists use the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) to define sector classifications as the leading standard indicator for the financial industry.
- Fixed Income ETFs:– These include government bonds or other typical investment vehicles that qualify as bonds.
- Currency ETFs:– You can invest in foreign currencies such as Euros and Dollars.
- Inverse ETFs:- There is a practice known as shorting a stock in these ETFs. In other words, stocks expected to fall are sold and bought back at a lower cost.
- Global Index ETFs:- Give investors access to developed and emerging markets and optimise their portfolios.
Benefits of Investing in Exchange-Traded Funds
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) offer several advantages over conventional mutual funds. They are a great investment vehicle for new stock investors concerned about losing money in mutual funds.
When buying an ETF, you buy hundreds or thousands of different securities in one transaction. It immediately spreads your risk. Using ETFs, investors can quickly and easily build portfolios covering various asset classes and geographies.
ETFs often have very low minimum investments, which means you don’t need much money to get started! You can start building an ETF portfolio with just a few hundred and add to it as you go on.
ETFs are profitable on many levels. If you buy the 500 stocks that make up the S&P 500, you pay your broker a commission each time. These fees can quickly add up and affect your bottom line! An ETF allows you to buy all 500 shares at once and pays just one brokerage commission, significantly reducing the cost of building a diversified portfolio.
The second level of profit involves fees charged by the ETF provider. These royalties mainly cover their operating costs. ETF fees start at attractive rates, and many ETF providers have slashed prices over the years to benefit investors — some of them even have no expenses.
ETFs are exchange-traded, which means you can buy and sell ETFs during the day. In other words, investors who want to sell ETFs and make a profit can do so quickly at a reasonable price. On the other hand, buying a home can be seen as a less illiquid investment as it will take longer to find someone willing to buy your property, and you may have to accept significant discounts if you need to sell fast. This feature makes ETFs useful for investors looking to enter or exit the market quickly.
ETFs disclose their holdings daily, so you know exactly what you’re buying. Usually, you can look inside an ETF and see precisely what you’re buying, unlike traditional funds that only reveal their top 10 holdings and, even then, often on a delayed basis.
To invest in Exchange-Traded Funds, you must have a trading account and a Demat account with your stockbroker. Once you have them, you can choose an ETF that suits your investment goals. Exposure to international markets, time investment, and willingness to take risks are all factors to consider when choosing an ETF. Once you have a clear view, you can buy or sell your ETF during market hours and watch your money grow.